Two Nigerian peacekeepers killed in Mali, says UN


The United Nations says two Nigerian peacekeepers were killed in an attack on a patrol team near Timbuktu in Mali.


The peacekeepers were killed on December 16 and their remains are expected to be transported to Nigeria after a memorial service by UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).


Apart from the male and female peacekeepers, four other blue helmets from MINUSMA were also injured in the attack.


Benjamin Olafaju, head of the chancery at the Nigeria mission to the UN, told NAN that the memorial will be held on Friday(today) at the parade ground, MINUSMA headquarters, Bamako.


Stéphane Dujarric, the UN spokesperson, was quoted as saying: “Soon after the memorial ceremony, they will be transported back to their home country, and then it will be up to the Nigerian military and the Nigerian government to decide on the burial.”


António Guterres, UN secretary-general, had earlier condemned the attack on the peacekeepers, saying it “may constitute war crimes” under international law.


The UN chief called on the Malian authorities to “spare no effort in identifying and swiftly bringing the perpetrators of these heinous attacks to justice”.


He offered his condolences to the bereaved families, the Nigerian government, and the people of Nigeria.


“The secretary-general reiterates the United Nations continued support to, and solidarity with, the people of Mali,” Dujarric quoted him as saying.


The UN security council had also issued a statement condemning the attack “in the strongest terms” and paid tribute to “all peacekeepers who risk their lives”.


The security council called on Mali’s transitional government to “swiftly investigate” the attack with the support of MINUSMA and bring the perpetrators to justice.


The council noted that terrorism constitutes “one of the most serious threats to international peace and security,” describing it as “criminal and unjustifiable,” regardless of the motivation.

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